Federal judge blocks increase in fees for citizenship, immigration applications

Oct 1, 2020 | Immigration law, News

A federal judge in California ruled in favor of immigration groups, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, who challenged a new rule that would have increased by 81% the cost to apply to become a U.S. citizen.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White granted a motion Tuesday that will stop U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from imposing the fee changes that were expected to go into effect Friday. Though the ruling was made in California, the decision calls for the fees to be blocked across the country pending the outcome of the lawsuit because of the various local and state governments that argued against the fee changes.

USCIS declined to comment late Tuesday, saying the agency was reviewing the ruling on the temporary injunction.

In the past couple of weeks, immigrants in the Chicago area have rushed to submit immigration applications before the government imposed the changes. The fee to apply for citizenship would have increased from $640 to $1,160.

Fred Tsao, of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said Tuesday’s decision shows that the changes were poorly explained and “severely flawed.”